Two goals early in the second half gave Birkirkara a 2-1 win over Hibernians to register the ninth consecutive win and move four points clear on top the BOV Premier League.
For the Paolites, this was the third defeat in five matches and now lie six points behind the Stripes and two behind Valletta.
Hibernians coach Branko Nisevic had the full squad at his disposal while Birkirkara could not count on Joseph Zerafa and Daniel Zerafa.
Jackson Lima was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a long-distance shot on the 2nd minute. A Bjorn Kristensen effort from the edge of the area was parried by Justin Haber on the 14th.
HIbernians continued to hold the initiative, going close with a Jackson Lima effort from outside the area ending just wide.
Four minutes in the second half, off a cross by Matthew Bartolo from the right, Obinna Obiefule served Edison Luis dos Santos whose low shot was blocked and off the rebound, Jackson Lima hit the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Birkirkara forged ahead agains the run of play when off a cross by Ryan Camenzuli, Edward Herrera’s brilliant first timer gave Mario Muscat no chance.
Birkirkara were now full of confidence and doubled the score on the 59th when Shola Shodiya served Jhonnattan Benites da Conceicao inside the area and the latter hit hard past the Hibernians goalkeeper.
Hibernians reduced the gap on 65 minutes when off a cross by Clayton Failla from the left, Marcelo Dias headed the ball down for Edison Luis dos Santos to slot the ball home past Haber.
Four minutes from time, Justin Haber performed a good save on a header by Bjorn Kristensen.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Rodolfo Soares (63′ Marcelo Dias), Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Andrew Cohen (84′ Jean Paul Farrugia), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Zoran Levnajic, Matthew Bartolo, Edison Luis dos Santos, Obinna Obiefule.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Scott Chircop, Brandon Muscat, Jurgen Degabriele, Jonathan Pearson.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
B’KARA Jutin Haber, Zach Muscat, Alejandro Mendoza, Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Camenzuli, Gareth Sciberras (71′ Ryan Scicluna), Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (75′ Demba Toure), Rowen Muscat, Haruna Shola Shodiya (83′ Frank Temile), Paul Fenech, Edward Herrera.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Kurt Zammit, Antoine Borg, Terence Vella.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: Jhonnattann, Scicluna, Shola Shodiya, Failla, Z. Muscat
Scorers: 51′ Edward Herrera (B); 59′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (B); 65′ Edison Luis dos Santos (H)
BOV Player of the Match: Edward Herrera